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Gridiron Notes: Madden NFL 21 Playbook and AI Changes

EA Sports dropped their latest Gridiron Notes, EA’s weekly blog post sharing details on the upcoming Madden NFL 21. Today’s Gridiron Notes covers two topics: Madden NFL 21 Playbooks, and updates to AI and general game play.

NFL Live Playbooks 2.0 and Madden NFL 21 Playbook Changes

In Madden NFL 20, EA introduced the NFL Live Playbooks feature. This way, EA could keep league playbooks up-to-date to match their ever-changing real-life counterparts. EA talks about expanding this feature, increasing the amount of content delivered via Title Updates.

Today’s Gridiron Notes features a few examples of new offensive plays.

According to the blog post, in Madden NFL 21, EA’s “main goal for the defensive playbooks was to make them more unique by focusing on including the primary formations that each team uses in real life.” By leaving out some versions of the 3-4, or 4-3, rather than including all variations, EA hopes teams will have to make more meaningful defensive decisions.

EA has added some NFL Live Playbook changes from Madden NFL 20 to Madden NFL 21. Some defensive formations added late last season are shown below.

Gameplay Tuning

Today’s Gridiron Notes highlights a number of adjustments to gameplay systems.
In a new ‘Adjustments to Motion’ system, defenses will react to offensive motion as if it were an audible. Changes to Madden NFL 21’s ‘press-man’ system means defenders will be more easily faked out by certain wide receiver releases. Receivers with a higher route run rating will more often beat a defender on certain route cuts. EA also gets into detail on subtle improvements to a number of legacy plays.

AI Game Play Adjustments

Madden NFL 21 will bring a number of changes to AI quarterbacks:
“AI-controlled teams will mix-up a more diverse set of pass concepts so they are less predictable and more aggressive. To pay this off, we also tuned the AI-QB pass read progressions so that they are more likely to throw to their best receiver in critical situations and/or when there’s not an obvious open receiver. The AI-QB will also do a better job of coverage recognition by anticipating receivers coming open and throwing the ball before they cut on certain routes. And lastly, AI-QB’s will be more intelligent in making reads for RPO plays and throwing the ball on-time when pulling it to pass.” EA also promises more organic behavior from AI ball carriers. Halfbacks will act more organically in the open field, and quarterbacks will try to protect themselves more often by sliding in the open field or running out of bounds.

The next Gridiron Notes, on July 28, will focus on feedback from the Madden NFL 21 closed beta. Madden NFL 21 releases on August 28. You can find updates and analysis on Madden NFL 21 right here on SportsGamersOnline.

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